"Some people won't be pleased, no matter what. If the person who you are trying so hard not to disappoint will be displeased with a no, they'll eventually be disappointed even if you say yes." - Lysa TerKeurst
I used to be one.
It took a long time for me to realise that I shouldn't be living my life seeking approval from others. That it's not my duty to say yes to every question, task and favour.
I started to think about it this way, when I ask someone for something, and they say no, it doesn't make me like them any less. I found that actually, the people who care for my wellbeing don't hold it against me if I happen to let a no slip from my lips.
I felt my self confidence was controlled by others. I have since realised that it comes from within myself. Yeah, that's right, from within me. I am strong. I am smart. I am loved. If someone vanishes from my life because I didn't "say yes", well, maybe they shouldn't have been there to begin with.
It took much self examination, and it was a terribly long and hard process, but saying no is freeing. Discovering my own self worth from the inside out was what I needed to stop my "yes addiction".
Here are my four tips to stop people pleasing.
1. Realise you have control.
If you feel mad, frustrated and are secretly brewing inside, then maybe you shouldn't have said yes. Check your motivation, if it stems from love and compassion then go ahead. But realise you do have control. You are responsible for the words you speak, your decisions and actions.
2. Learn how to say no (with grace), and put it into practice.
At first it will be difficult, but start out small and work your way up to a bigger "no". People will forget you aren't a people pleaser anymore, so don't worry, you will get a lot of practice using the magic word.
3. Get used to asking for what you want.
Think about something you need help with, even if it's just locating and item in a store, and ask. Get used to suggesting ideas when someone asks what you would like to do, instead of saying "I don't know, whatever you want". What do YOU want? You are allowed to have a voice.
4. Examine your fears.
Work out why you are a people pleaser. Why do you feel like you have to say yes all the time? For me it was a lack of self confidence and sense of purpose. Saying yes made me feel needed. Once I figured that out, it was a lot easier to focus on improving my confidence and therefore losing some of those people pleasing tendencies. My confidence improved, so I didn't feel the need to seek validation through others anymore.
Of course this is an ongoing exercise. Sometimes I feel myself reverting to my old people pleasing ways, but then I catch myself before the yes comes out. I'm proud of that! I remember that it's okay to put myself first. And it's okay for you too.